Who Will Be the Messiah?

Though this is “old” news, in more than one regard, I found it today among my emails and thought it was interesting:

12973

Rabbi Reveals Name of the Messiah

[Israel Today – Monday, April 30, 2007] Shortly before he died, one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis wrote the name of the Messiah on a small note which he requested would remain sealed until now. When the note was opened, it revealed what many have known for centuries: Yehoshua, or Yeshua (Jesus), is the Messiah.

A few months before he died, one of the nation’s most prominent rabbis, Yitzhak Kaduri, supposedly wrote the name of the Messiah on a small note which he requested would remain sealed until now. When the note was unsealed, it revealed what many have known for centuries: Yehoshua, or Yeshua (Jesus), is the Messiah.

With the biblical name of Jesus, the Rabbi and kabbalist described the Messiah using six words and hinting that the initial letters form the name of the Messiah. The secret note said:

Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.

This I have signed in the month of mercy,
Yitzhak Kaduri

The Hebrew sentence (translated above in bold) with the hidden name of the Messiah reads: Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim

The initials spell the Hebrew name of Jesus, Yehoshua. Yehoshua and Yeshua are effectively the same name, derived from the same Hebrew root of the word “salvation” as documented in Zechariah 6:11 and Ezra 3:2. The same priest writes in Ezra, “Yeshua son of Yozadak” while writing in Zechariah “Yehoshua son of Yohozadak.” The priest adds the holy abbreviation of God’s name, ho, in the father’s name Yozadak and in the name Yeshua.

With one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis indicating the name of the Messiah is Yeshua, it is understandable why his last wish was to wait one year after his death before revealing what he wrote.

When the name of Yehoshua appeared in Kaduri’s message, ultra-Orthodox Jews from his Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva (seminary) in Jerusalem argued that their master did not leave the exact solution for decoding the Messiah’s name.

The revelation received scant coverage in the Israeli media. Only the Hebrew websites News First Class (Nfc) and Kaduri.net mentioned the Messiah note, insisting it was authentic. The Hebrew daily Ma’ariv ran a story on the note but described it as a forgery.

Jewish readers responded on the websites’ forums with mixed feelings: “So this means Rabbi Kaduri was a Christian?” and “The Christians are dancing and celebrating,” were among the comments.

Israel Today spoke to two of Kaduri’s followers in Jerusalem who admitted that the note was authentic, but confusing for his followers as well. “We have no idea how the Rabbi got to this name of the Messiah,” one of them said.

Yet others completely deny any possibility that the note is authentic. Kaduri’s son, Rabbi David Kaduri, said that at the time the note was written (September 2005), his father’s physical condition made it impossible for him to write.

KADURI’S PORTRAYAL OF THE MESSIAH

A few months before Kaduri died at the age of 108, he surprised his followers when he told them that he met the Messiah. Kaduri gave a message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaching how to recognize the Messiah. He also mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon’s death. (The former prime minister is still in a coma after suffering a massive stroke more than a year ago.)

Other rabbis predict the same, including Rabbi Haim Cohen, kabbalist Nir Ben Artzi and the wife of Rabbi Haim Kneiveskzy.

Kaduri’s grandson, Rabbi Yosef Kaduri, said his grandfather spoke many times during his last days about the coming of the Messiah and redemption through the Messiah.

His spiritual portrayals of the Messiah—reminiscent of New Testament accounts—were published on the websites Kaduri.net and Nfc:

“It is hard for many good people in society to understand the person of the Messiah. The leadership and order of a Messiah of flesh and blood is hard to accept for many in the nation. As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate. His reign will be pure and without personal or political desire. During his dominion, only righteousness and truth will reign.

“Will all believe in the Messiah right away? No, in the beginning some of us will believe in him and some not. It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the Messiah than for Orthodox people.

“The revelation of the Messiah will be fullled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”

FAREWELL TO A ‘TSADIK’

Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri was known for his photographic memory and his memorization of the Bible, the Talmud, Rashi and other Jewish writings. He knew Jewish sages and celebrities of the last century and rabbis who lived in the Holy Land and kept the faith alive before the State of Israel was born.

Kaduri was not only highly esteemed because of his age of 108. He was charismatic and wise, and chief rabbis looked up to him as a Tsadik, a righteous man or saint. He would give advice and blessings to everyone who asked. Thousands visited him to ask for counsel or healing. His followers speak of many miracles and his students say that he predicted many disasters.

When he died, more than 200,000 people joined the funeral procession on the streets of Jerusalem to pay their respects as he was taken to his final resting place.

“When he comes, the Messiah will rescue Jerusalem from foreign religions that want to rule the city,” Kaduri once said. “They will not succeed for they will fight against one another.”

THE RABBI’S FOLLOWERS REACT

In an interview with Israel Today, Rabbi David Kaduri, the 80-year-old son of the late Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, denied that his father left a note with the name Yeshua just before he died.

“It’s not his writing,” he said when we showed him a copy of the note.

During a nighttime meeting in the Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva in Jerusalem, books with the elder Kaduri’s handwriting from 80 years ago were presented to us in an attempt to prove that the Messiah note was not authentic.

When we told Rabbi Kaduri that his father’s official website (www.kaduri.net) had mentioned the Messiah note, he was shocked. “Oh no! That’s blasphemy. The people could understand that my father pointed to him [the Messiah of the Christians].”

David Kaduri confirmed, however, that in his last year, his father had talked and dreamed almost exclusively about the Messiah and his coming. “My father has met the Messiah in a vision,” he said, “and told us that he would come soon.”

Israel Today was given access to many of the rabbi’s manuscripts, written in his own hand for the exclusive use of his students. Most striking were the cross-like symbols painted by Kaduri all over the pages. In the Jewish tradition, one does not use crosses. In fact, even the use of a plus sign is discouraged because it might be mistaken for a cross.

But there they were, scribbled in the rabbi’s own hand. When we asked what those symbols meant, Rabbi David Kaduri said they were “signs of the angel.” Pressed further about the meaning of the “signs of the angel,” he said he had no idea. Rabbi David Kaduri went on to explain that only his father had had a spiritual relationship with God and had met the Messiah in his dreams.

Orthodox Jews around the Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva told Israel Today a few weeks later that the story about the secret note of Rabbi Kaduri should never have come out, and that it had damaged the name the revered old sage.

Advertisements

A Thief’s Confession

H/T: A Catechumen’s Tale

125

The following is an excerpt from  The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus:

Terrible indeed was the judgment of a good judge and shepherd which I once saw in a monastery. For while I was there, it happened that a thief sought for admission to the monastic life. And that most excellent pastor and physician ordered him to take seven days of complete rest, just to see the kind of life in the place. When the week had passed, the pastor called him and asked him privately: “Would you like to live with us?” And when he saw that he agreed to this with all sincerity, he then asked him what evil he had done in the world. And when he saw that he readily confessed everything, he tried him still further, and said: “I want you to tell this in the presence of all the brethren.” But he really did hate his sin, and, scorning all shame, without the least hesitation he promised to do it. “And if you like,” he said, “I will tell it in the middle of the city of Alexandria.”

And so, the shephered gathered all his sheep in the church, to the number of two hundred and thirty, and during divine service (for it was Sunday), after the reading of the Gospel, he introduced this irreproachable convict. He was dragged by several of the brethren, who have him moderate blows. His hands were tied behind his back, he was dressed in a hair shirt, his head was sprinkled with ashes. All were astonished at the sight. And immediately a woeful cry rang out; for no one knew what was happening. Then, when the thief appeared at the doors of the church, that holy superior who had such love for souls, said to him in a loud voice, “Stop! You are not worthy to enter here.”

Dumbfounded by the voice of the shepherd coming from the sanctuary (for he thought, as he afterwards assured us with oaths, that he had heard not a human voice, but thunder), he instantly fell on his face, trembling and shaking all over with fear. As he lay on the ground and moistened the floor with his tears, this wonderful physician, using all means for his salvation, and wishing to give to all an example of saving and effectual humility, again exhorted him, in the presence of all, to tell in detail what he had done. And with terror he confessed, one after another, all his sins, which revolted every ear, not only sins of the flesh, natural and unnatural, with rational beings and with animals, but even poisoning, murder and many others, which it is not lawful to hear or commit to writing. And when he had finished his confession, the shepherd at once allowed him to be given the habit and numbered among the brethren.

Amazed by the wisdom of that holy man, I asked him when we were alone: “Why did you make such an extraordinary show?” That true physician replied: “…In order to deliver the penitent himself from the future shame by present shame; and it really did that, Brother John. For he did not rise from the floor until he was granted remission of all his sins. And do not doubt this, for one of the brethren who was there confided to me, saying: ‘I saw someone terrible holding a pen and writing-tablet, and as the prostrate man told each sin, he crossed it out with a pen.'” [4:11-12]

The Christian as an Ascetic

n637917711_1753616_4436787

H/T to Mr. Edgecomb for this excerpt of a sermon given by Metropolitan Philaret on St John:

When we throw a stone up, it ascends until the moment when the propelling force ceases to be effectual. So long as this force acts, the stone travels higher and higher in its ascent, overcoming the force of the earth’s gravity. But when this force is sspent and ceases to act, then, as you know, the stone does not remain suspended in the air. Immediately, it begins to fall, and the further it falls the greater the speed of its fall. This, solely according to the physical laws of terrestrial gravity.

So it is also in the spiritual life. As a Christian gradually ascends, the force of spiritual and ascetical labours lifts him on high. Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Strive to enter in through the narrow gate.” That is, the Christian ought to be an ascetic. Not only the monastic, but every Christian. He must take pains for his soul and his life. He must direct his life on the Christian path, and purge his soul of all filth and impurity.

Now, if the Christian, who is ascending upon this ladder of spiritual perfection by his struggles and ascetic labours, ceases from this work and ascetic toil, his soul will not remain in its former condition; but, like the stone, it will fall to the earth. More and more quickly will it drop until, finally, if the man does not come to his senses, it will cast him down into the very abyss of Hell.

It is necessary to remember this. People forget that the path of Christianity is indeed an ascetical labour. Last Sunday, we heard how the Lord said: “He that would come after Me, let him take up his cross, deny himself, and follow Me.” The Lord said this with the greatest emphasis. Therefore, the Christian must be one who takes up his cross, and his life, likewise, must be an ascetic labour of bearing that cross. Whatever the outward circumstance of his life, be he monk or layman, it is of no consequence. In either case, if he does not force himself to mount upwards, then, of a certainty, he will fall lower and lower.

Fourth Sunday of Lent

ladder-of-divine-ascent

A homily on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

H/T: Vonmem

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ today is the Fourth Sunday of the Great and Holy Fast.  This Sunday of Lent is dedicated to Saint John Climacus or Saint John of the Ladder.  Saint John was a monk of Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.  As a monk of Sinai he lived a spiritual life.  He captured his experience in a book with the title, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

In this book he describes the spiritual life and growth to God through 30 steps or rungs on a ladder.  Through these 30 steps a man is transfigured into continual communion with God.  The spiritual growth that is achieved by the action of these steps is only achieved through God’s mercy, prayer and fasting.

In today’s Gospel we hear of Christ our God’s mercy and healing and their relationship to prayer and fasting.  In this Gospel we hear of a man that brings his son to our Lord for healing from demons.  This man has doubt that our Lord can accomplish this healing because his disciples could not heal him.  Our Lord first rebukes him and the crowd that is with him.  Our Lord then asks him to believe that this healing can occur.  The man says that he believes but asks Christ to heal his unbelief.  The man’s son is then healed.  Later the disciples ask why they could not heal this man’s son.  Jesus replies that this type of demon can only be removed through prayer and fasting.

The first thing that confronts us in this Gospel is the existence of evil spirits, fallen angels or demons.  We would all like to deny their existence.  We would like to dismiss their action as illness or mental illness.  Mental illness is something that does exist but, it is different from the spiritual illness that is being described in this Gospel.  The possession of the soul by demons is a sickness of the soul.  The sickness of the soul separates a person from God and from other people.

The goals of the demons are to convince us that they do not exist or that they have the same power as God.  The prince of the demons is Lucifer or the devil himself.  He is the prince of lies.  If we believe the lie that that there is no evil then it becomes easier for us to believe that we do not need God.  The other lie that the devil wants us to believe is that he is an evil god that is equal to God.  We often hear of this good and evil equality in the belief of the ying and the yang. When we believe these lies we deny the power of God and separate ourselves from Him and others.  Through this separation from God and others our soul’s becomes sick.  In the most severe cases of soul sickness the person starts to act differently.  Sometimes this is mistaken for a mental illness.

That is what we see in today’s Gospel.  The father refers to his son as a lunatic or a person that is crazed.  This man wants to believe that the illness is something other than a sickness of the soul.  In a way the man wants to believe that this illness is something that was given by God.  That it is a punishment from God.  This is the true denial of God by attributing to Him the evil of the fallen angels that has been self inflicted through the misuse of our free will.  We must remember that all that God has created is good.  This is continually reinforced for us as God creates the world in Genesis with the words, “and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:10-31)

This is why our Lord rebukes this man and the crowd.  He does this because of their forgetfulness that all that God created is good and to bring them back to belief in Him.  The Apostle James explains rebukes that are made in the following passage from his epistle “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.  Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.” (James 3:2-3)  Thus, rebukes may seem offensive but they are a tool to turn us back to a correct way of living.

Then Jesus asks the man to bring his son to Him for healing. Then the Lord asks him to believe that his son can be healed.  The man then cries out Lord I believe heal my unbelief.  Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic says “There is nothing that melts the ice of unbelief as readily as tears.”  These tears occur when we can no longer endure the pain of not trusting in God.  We often hear this in the cry “God help me!” when we at the point of despair.  It is at this point of despair that God can enter into our lives.  This is when God can help us to have belief and faith in Him.  Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic further says “… man cannot even come to faith without God’s help.  Man can only come to some slight belief…But the path from some measure of belief to true faith is long indeed, and no man can follow this path without God’s guiding hand.”

When the man’s son is healed our Lord tells the demon to enter him no more.  In this the Lord is reminding us and the young man that our behaviors are often engrained in our very being.  This is a reminder to us that we are not return to our sins once we have repented of them.  In the Gospel of Saint Matthew our Lord also reminds us that once we have removed a sin from our lives we must be careful not to add more sins with the following “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, …Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43-45)  With these two reminders our Lord reminds us that we must be continually diligent in the conduct of our lives not to sin to prevent the sickness of the soul.

After the healing of the man’s son Christ’s disciples ask him why they could not cast out the demon.  Our Lord’s response is that it is because of their unbelief and that this type of demon is only cast out through prayer and fasting.  Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic points out the following regarding the disciples unbelief and their inability to cast out this demon “…the measure that their faith had become weaker, whether from worldly fear or from pride, so the power that had been given to them had become weakened.”  Our Lord then gives the prescription for healing to regain that which was given to them by God; prayer and fasting.  This same medicine is given to us by the church so that we can regain or strengthen our faith and enter into continuous communion with God.

Saint Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna discussed prayer and fasting in the following way “Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives.  Prayer, mercy and fasting:  these three are one, and they give life to each other.  Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting.”  Fasting is a method of quenching the passions through abstinence.  Fasting is not only the abstinence from food but the abstinence from lose living.  It is a self discipline that allows us to knock at the Lords door through prayer and receive His mercy for us that restores us into continual communion with Him.

So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ my prayer for you is that you make take your spiritual medicine of fasting that you may be able to pray to restore and grow in your faith so that you may receive the Lord’s mercy and have continual communion with Him. Amen.

One Man’s Encounter With Death (6)

Desiring to finish what I started, I’ve been meaning to get back to taking notes of Andrei’s vision. Not much in this section. I’ve been posting two parts of the You Tube video at a time but I’m a little worn out today. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish this up tomorrow with the last two parts of the video.

Andrei continues his description by saying that he also saw St. Nicholas and the Holy Theotokos. Seeing the Theotokos, he says, one immediately feels child-like, like a six year old and instantly you see her worthiness.  But you also see yourself, your sins and how you lived your life and it is very difficult to come close to her because of your sins. She came up to him and caressed his head and said, “Son, all your sins are forgiven.”  He says that he cried. The holy souls that he saw all told him to go to church until his last breath.  First of all, to not accept any documents (perhaps in reference to the end times, the seal, etc. – Fr. M), then to repent, confess, take communion, tell people all he has seen. The Lord told him that in paradise no one suffers, but he will still have to suffer more, he will have to get married and have children. And that was how it was. He said he never saw his wife, Valentina who, I think he says was a novice at a monastery at the time and he saw her as they were giving her instructions in the monastery. (I don’t know if he is saying that he saw her in his vision or later, not clear.) But, in his vision, he says he saw how souls are married. He saw himself and her. He was able to see how when people are married in the church the Lord marries their souls in Heaven. Then they receive the law of marriage. And they go towards their salvation while the others live in sin.

In describing heaven he says that everything on earth is also in heaven but much more. The soul, he says, is always in movement. He was given a garment to wear upon entering the Heavenly Kingdom. The Lord gives the garment according to our deeds. He describes being taken to a large table where there were large grapes and apples and a cup of the love of the Lord. He says, as he did before, that the soul feels at times that it wants to leave that place because of its sins. But when he tasted from that cup he was filled with the Lord’s love. He describes how there were souls there for hundreds of years and he had just arrived but they felt the same because one doesn’t feel time. When asked what do the souls do there, he said there is no working but only eternal joy. The skies here are blue while there he said he saw many different colors.